Redefining Patriotism For United States Citizens

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The term ‘patriotism’ is thrown about with little rhyme or reason in the modern era of the United States. It appears to mean anything, from blowing shit up on the 4th of July to raiding the Capitol building, and everything in between. I think it’s about time that we take a moment for redefining patriotism, so milk-drinkers stop conflating it with bizarre behavior.

First, let’s outline what patriotism is not. This will be a hard read, so bear with me: patriotism has nothing to do with flying an American flag at your business or flying flags on your trucks. That’s just flying an American flag around. Further, shitting on someone else’s beliefs, race, gender, or whatever the hell else has nothing to do with patriotism.

It’s important to outline this for the slower kids in the back of the class. Remember that shame can be a dangerous feeling.

Thinking Harder

That’s just flying around your own beliefs in the scant yet desperate hope that it makes you ostensibly ‘better’ than someone else. Even political parties aren’t patriotic, regardless of which way you blow – a major concern for the founding fathers was that only two parties would emerge and hold any viability, allowing figures to easily control political discourse.

We threw out the Constitution (at least some parts of it) years ago, and we’re adding to it all the time. Holding the ideal of the Constitution is absolutely patriotic – adhering to the letter in the modern age seems more archaic than anything elsešŸ˜ . Finally, storming a Capitol building because some booger held a rally and got everyone riled up is not patriotism. It’s fanatical adherence, sure, but difficult to argue as a form of patriotism.

The Place of the Constitution

The Constitution of the United States is the closest we have to a founding vision put forward, where all are equal. Since the Constitution was signed, we have consistently tossed it wayside with race, gender, religion, and everything else. The principles held within seem fantastic – protecting ourselves from an overzealous government, the separation of church and state, free speech.

Rarely are citizens seemingly protected from powerful individuals, however, using the Constitution. Police officers can walk in your house and murder your family with no repercussions. President Biden recently stated that assault rifles won’t stop the government from steamrolling.

Then we have a more modern problem, where those ideas may not be working out in the current era. Guns change across the hands of criminals, freely. Hate speech drives people towards mass shootings and insane political ideology taken at face value because thinking is too hard for many, frankly speaking.

There’s no doubt that the Constitution holds a sacred role in America. The question is if it is still the guiding principle moving forwards.

Redefining patriotism seems a messy affair, thus, as we’ve conflated (as humans tend to do) beliefs with facts. Patriotism is ‘devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.’ Thus, to be patriotic, we must assure that our movements and ideals support a stronger nation.

Academically Based Reasoning

Now, arguments can be struck here: some posit that a stronger military is necessary for strength, others that housing corporations results in an overall better boon for the nation. To help navigate through these discussions, there needs to be academic merit held steadfastly in the center of the conversation with beliefs, however temporarily, eschewed for the greater good of the nation.

Perhaps spending over $2 billion (about $6 per person in the US) per day on the military budget, when people are dying of heat and lack of food in the United States, isn’t the greatest idea.

Perverting aspects of democracy, such as the DNC did in the 2016 election cycle1, to ensure that the ‘right candidate’ gets selected by the people is not patriotic. Conversely, heralding the idea that an election has been stolen (as the GOP did2) when no data supported the claim, is not patriotic.

But this, to me at least, all seems like common sense. I don’t think anyone is really interested in ‘patriotic’ ideals for the United States. We’re a fractured country that has been intentionally split every conceivable way: race, creed, gender, and age are all aspects that multiple outlets focus on to seemingly continue to drive a wedge between citizens.

Instead of redefining patriotism, perhaps we should look closer at why so many seem so intent to continue to divide us.

  1. Gold, H., Debenedetti, G., & Stokols, E. (2016, October 31). Brazile under siege after giving Clinton debate question. POLITICO.
  2. Epstein, R. J., & Lerer, L. (2021, June 7). Rejecting Biden’s Win, Rising Republicans Attack Legitimacy of Elections. The New York Times.
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